Walking therapy can provide an uplifting and liberating alternative to the consulting room.
Therapeutically, walking therapy can be helpful for clients who may be experiencing depression, stress or grief, as these states can sometimes feel overwhelmingly heavy and negative. Physically moving at a pace that suits the client can metaphorically and literally assist with loosening up thoughts and feelings and generating a new perspective and feelings of moving forward.
Walking and talking in parallel with a therapist, with beautiful scenery to provide some visual distractions, can feel less intimidating than being stuck within the four walls of a therapy room.
Nature-based therapies, such as walking therapy can be beneficial for many types of clients. The healing effects of nature are well known. Just walking outside can stimulate:
- Positive feelings enhanced through a sense of accomplishment from doing something healthy in a picturesque and serene environment.
- Gratitude for beautiful surroundings, which in turn increases levels of dopamine, associated with the pleasure centre of the brain.
- The production of endorphins through physical exercise– our natural high.
- Vitamin D, which is triggered by natural daylight and helps to produce serotonin –the body’s own natural defence against depression.
Overall, clients can experience more creative, deeper ways of thinking, which can often be released by mood-enhancing physical activity of walking alongside the guidance of the therapist.
A keen walker, I am familiar with many of Surrey’s rich and diverse local walks. Sessions can take place in areas such as Horton Park, Nonsuch Park and the Hogsmill River. Where and what time of day we meet will depend on the season and the weather. All practicalities are arranged in advance. Each session lasts 50 minutes.